Why Can’t I Find A Job? Make Sure You’ve Done These Things
I live in a part of the country where competition for jobs is fierce. There's a large number of people here who are looking for jobs at all times because this is a transient urban location which always has new people moving in and joining the local workforce. Additionally, the people who move here seem to be more qualified, generally speaking, than the average employee pool of many other cities. Because of this, it can be really difficult to get a job here, even for a qualified individual. However, having been at the side of numerous friends and colleagues going through the job search process here, I've learned a few things that increase the likelihood of getting a job. And if they work here, they should work almost anywhere!
#1. Basic Job Stuff
The first thing that you need to do is to make sure you've covered all of the basics that should be common sense in terms of getting a job but which sometimes get overlooked. This means that you have updated your resume - and yes, that means having a colleague or friend take a look at it, give you feedback, point out typos and fix everything. It means preparing a fresh cover letter and buying stationary to print it out. It means setting up a professional email name if you don't already have one because it's not appropriate to contact potential employers from your firstname.lastname@example.org account. And it means that you have at least one professional outfit to wear to any interviews that you get which you'll go to freshly showered and with a clean cut haircut. Arrive at them on time. Your future employers will almost all consider these things to be basic, obvious, common sense things that you should be doing so your failure to do them could be what's preventing you from getting a job.
#2. Actively Looking For Work
This should technically fall under the first category but it is ignored a surprising amount of the time, so it belongs on its own to give it the attention it needs. You can not get a job if you aren't looking. This means that you are not merely browsing the latest newspaper ads every few days. You are online, looking up available jobs on every classified site available. You are identifying places that you would like to work and actually going to take your resume and cover letter to them, even if they aren't advertising that they are hiring. You are putting out the word among all of your friends that you are seeking work and letting them know that they should tip you off to anything that sounds like it might be right for you. And then you're going back online and seeing what else is available. You'd be surprised how many people put in a minimum amount of effort to get work and then complain that they don't have a job. Don't be a whiner; look for the jobs and you'll probably get them.
#3 Make Yourself Memorable
You don't have to pull any crazy stunts, but you should make sure that you stand out from the crowd of other applicants. If you have a particular skill or part job experience that really applies to a particular job, make a special note of it in your cover letter. If you have a website that's particularly visually appealing, a witty way of presenting yourself in email or a business card that usually captures attention, make use of this to get the eye of the person you are trying to have hire you. People hire those that they remember after the first introduction is complete. Figure out what "your thing" is and use it.
#4 Make It Easy To Hire You
The person that is trying to hire you is probably trying to fill an empty position and that means that he or she is probably completely frazzled. The easier you make that person's job, the more likely it is that you are going to get the position that you want. This starts with your application. Make sure that you complete all of the requested application materials, following any special instructions made available to you. If an ad says to send your resume in the body of an email, don't send it as an attachment or forward links to your online portfolio. Also, be sure that you provide all methods of contacting you (IM, email address, phone number, address) in a clear and concise manner so that if the hiring individual wants to contact you, the information to do so is right at their fingertips.
When you go to job interviews, bring a fresh copy of your resume with your contact information. Attach your business card. Sure, the employer already has these things but putting them right in his or her hand makes it easier for that person and that's your goal. Bring an organized list of questions that you would like to ask and be sure to ask them in a timely fashion. Bring your own pen and notebook. In other words, ask as little as possible from your potential employer and do as much as you can for him or her. It will be appreciated and that appreciation could land you the job.
The job search can be a frustrating one and if it isn't going well, you might start to get a bit depressed. You don't want to leave the house as much as you used to because you don't have the money to spend on going out and you don't feel like you have anything to contribute to the conversation anyway since everyone else is talking about their work. But very few people get offered a new job when they are just sitting in their homes. You can probably afford a cup of coffee or you can at least do your online job searching from the local library. Putting yourself out around people puts you in the path of those who might be hiring. Introduce yourself to people (appropriately), bring up what you do in conversation and hand out your business card liberally. You never know when the guy from the coffee shop might know someone who needs you as an employee.
Keeping a positive attitude about getting a new job is important. Making sure that you've covered all of your professional basis is crucial. And when things aren't going right, update your approach can be just the thing to making sure you get a job.
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